Be the change

Drive change

drive changeAt some point a teacher needs to work out that they are the one who is driving change and leading the people they are associated with onto newer and better ground. They have to have the confidence to be that kind of teacher,leader and influencer. Teachers have to have a methodical way of feeling so secure in themselves and what they are doing that they can be those sorts of change agents. It is not surprising some teachers feel confused, swamped, isolated or abandoned. It is a big, complex job and when you realise they are the people who can profoundly change others then it should not come as a surprise that it feels daunting and extremely challenging to be a teacher. Changing the lives of others and being an influence for positive growth is a demanding task. You need to address those feelings and perceptions methodically. You need to remind teachers they are the ones who can make a depressed child more at ease, a struggling child more comfortable, whole classes full of children who want to be a somebody that somebody they want to be and then they are also the ones who can inspire their colleagues, assure parents in a difficult , disrupted world and who can make breakthroughs in the delivery of curriculum so that it more meaningful, useful and more accessible. Teachers need to be held up, supported and encouraged to understand that they are profound influencers and need to take control of that. The internet is  full of great professional education sites which are supporting schools and educators both locally and internationally. Teachers can connect and be part of virtual groups and initiatives which will hold them up and move them in a safe way to be the leaders they are capable of being. The feedback loop is essential but part of that means teachers need to be able to identify, clarify and express the sorts of help and support they need. They need to participate in discussions so they can drive those discussions further and deeper. They need to collaborate with others so they can share their ideas and thoughts in order to grow them. They also need to feel sufficiently strong and competent that they can walk in and start developing the  ideas they have so they can make them reality. As a teacher you are responsible for a lot of lives and involved in so many interpersonal transactions. You have to know, without a shadow of a doubt , that you are the one who can be the change and that waiting for things to happen won’t bring that change about. You need the professional educational input and development but you also need the personal strength training so you feel you can make a difference and just go ahead and do it. It’s about learning how to be an independent operator who has a way of engaging positively, and in a considered way, with those within  your sphere of influence.

lily tomlin quote

einstein quote

Induction for Beginning Teachers

The AITSL channel on YouTube has a wealth of positive, informative, practical and relevant videos for teachers at any stage of their career. The channel provides support from real teachers, real members of the profession. The videos relate  and connect to the Professional Standards for Teachers. These are the best professional development resources Australian teachers have ever had because they are authentic and they represent Australian schools and Australian conditions. That is not to say they would not be helpful education resources for other countries. These videos are well made and well constructed. This one about Induction for Beginning Teachers came up on my Facebook feed and then in an email to me. AITSL knows how to connect. It has become good at it and this particular video is very good on its design elements so the materials are well considered from an UX point of view.  The video explains that good induction does have a positive impact on beginning teachers and that if they are in schools with a strong learning culture and are mentored, they will feel like they belong, will improve in their skills and will be strong, confident teachers. I’d actually like to know the real reasons people are leaving. It won’t necessarily be what they say. In my first 3 years of teaching I tried to leave the job. I hated it, but I was so bad at job interviews I got to teach for 42 years in a high school and I loved it. It’s the best job in the world. It is challenging, confusing, demanding, exhausting, exhilarating but 42 years down the track I have found out I really have made a difference. I really did make changes. I really could help students to achieve their dreams, their realities, their hopes and wishes. A teacher is there as a new life is developing. It’s a position of privilege. You can be the one who lets them shine, or change or learn so someone can be who they want to be. You can make them good at something, you can inspire them and you can influence. For good. Like a parent you have a pivotal role in an emerging life. The AITSL video explains induction will help teacher confidence, professional understanding and support developing a diverse range of skills. It will look at professional practices, professional identity and well being as well as orientation. Teachers coming into the profession today have access to local, national and global networks. They have online resources like the AITSL channel and the AITSL site. In the end a real person you identify with and feel safe with will get you to take hold and grow. You have to grow in order to blossom. Teaching is not static so one skill set will not do you at all. New teachers need to be forwards compatible and experienced teachers need to be both backwards and forwards compatible. The new ones will have a vision for the future from their perspective. They will have the tools to relate easily. The experienced teachers will decode that into practice and show the perspective to newer teachers. It’s linking chains and joining  dots. Twitter discussions, real life discussions and sites like AITSL all help to bolt it all together. Educators are all connected now and that makes it a much stronger profession which is far more able to help new teachers to establish their strengths more effectively. A strong learning culture comes from conversations and discussions. That has to be an expected and accepted part of any teacher development programmes. The woman who narrates this needs some acknowledgement. Her voice suits the clip and this positive , well articulated lady is someone we need to value and validate!

Anzac Day

Anzac Day is a public holiday and day of remembrance in Australia where we, as a nation, salute the fallen. Anzac Day now bigger than just the anniversary of the landing of the Australian and New Zealand troops on Gallipoli in 1915. It’s a day where we remember all Australians who have served and fallen in war and on operational service. The song I was only 19 is one which we often hear on Anzac Day even though it was written by John Schuman for those young conscripts who went to Vietnam. It’s a powerful song and now iconic in our culture. The band Redgum was one which represented those who could easily be forgotten because they had fallen in war.

There is currently quite a push on the internet so that we remember the right people for the right reasons. Netizens are questioning why we promote and endorse stupidity so easily on the internet when there are others so much worthier. This is the message of I was only 19. It is worth noting John Schuman was a teacher in a southern suburbs school and moved from there into his musical, political and social justice career. In 2015 he wrote Every Anzac Day, a song about aboriginal soldiers who served in the Australian military. He has been teaching us well about how we can deal as a nation with the impact and implications of war for individual lives.

Penmanship

Master penman Jake Weidmann is an amazing teacher and student. His capacity to learn and apply his knowledge becomes self-evident. He is one of twelve master penmen in the world and he is 20 years younger than the others. He gives what he is doing his heart and soul and then puts in all the hours of application to be the shining light he is. He epitomises the art of learning, the art of knowing and now the art of teaching. This video can show us how someone can be encouraged to learn and know. The bottom line is commitment.

ICT – where now?

This video is 5 years old , has great music and sums up well where we have been and how we have striven to get technology into classrooms. We have worked hard on developing 21st century learning skills. The video also points to where we need to be looking now:

We need to recognize we can no longer simply educate students to become technology users – and consumers – without also helping them learn how to become critical thinkers about technology and the social issues surrounding its use.

Cynthia L. Selfe

It’s about finding the right tool for the job, looking at what is appropriate and not appropriate in terms of apps and software, looking for the most effective way or ways of presenting information or gathering information. Students are surrounded by technology out of school. As teachers we need to be aware of what is popular, what it means, what the social impact is and whether these tools can serve other purposes which would suit our educational needs. As the other Ms. Selfe quote says, we have to pay attention to technology. We have to be aware, share and dare to be different sometimes and allow that all to be peer reviewed. As teachers we need to take safe, well considered steps but if we discuss our ideas and think them through with others, there is no reason we should not try to make sound educational use of what is now a banquet of apps, software, tools and tricks. We are lucky we are connected teachers because we have the opportunity at any time of the day or night to get professional feedback and encouragement . We are never stopped, blocked or held up with what we need to do and we can validate our ideas as we have them no matter when.Our real and virtual connections mean we can be more adventurous and secure in our planning and ideas development.

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